Saturday, October 14, 2017

Book Review: 'Genteel Secrets' by S.R. Mallery

Author S.R. Mallery first came to this reader’s attention as one of the contributors to BOOK BITES: LOVE IN TIMES OF WAR and indeed this short novella is from that collection. But writing love stories is not her only gift – she is also a classical/pop singer and composer, a calligrapher, a quilt designer, and an ESL teacher. And her books include THE DOLAN GIRLS, UNEXPECTED GIFTS, SEWING CAN BE DANGEROUS AND OTHER SMALL THREADS, and TALES TO COUNT ON. Reading GENTEEL SECRETS shows this broad spectrum of experience as she weaves a story of love during the Civil War era.

In her synopsis Sarah offers the bare outline of this romance: ‘ What do a well-bred Southern Belle and a Northern working class Pinkerton detective have in common? Espionage . . . and romance. At the start of the U.S. Civil War, while young men begin dying on American battlefields and slavery is headed toward its end, behind the scenes, female undercover work and Pinkerton intelligence are alive and well. But in the end, can this unlikely Romeo and Juliet couple’s love survive, or will they be just another casualty of war?’

Mallery’s way with words is mesmerizing – old names form the past, its of atmosphere that seem only witnesses of the era would know as well, and a taut story that leaves us satisfied but eager for more. Grady Harp, December 16

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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